Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Dublin at Christmas

If you are planning on visiting Dublin for Christmas make sure that you are either staying with friends or family, staying at a hotel that is going to be open or a self catering property like those advertised on a holiday homes website like for example.

Unlike France, Italy or England it is very difficult to actually eat out, or even get a drink on Christmas day. The reason is that traditionally it is a day when a family is meant to be together.

I tried in both 2007 and 2008 to find a restaurant or hotel that was open for Christmas lunch. It is nearly impossible.

Most hotels close early afternoon on Christmas Eve and don't usually open again till lunchtime on the day after St Stephens Day (Boxing day) the 27th. The pubs will close early on Christmas Eve and some will open on St Stephens Day. Many Guest Houses and bed and breakfast establishments also closed.
A lot of bar staff in Ireland used to be members of a union and it was agreed therefore that pubs would not open. Although the situation with staff will have changed a lot today, the same rules apply to opening. They don't!!

I discovered that a hotel in Drumcondra on the way to the airport is open for Christmas Lunch, however their arrangements included a small entertainment variety show. A hotel that is part of an American chain was open as well in the centre for a 4 course brunch. The price quoted was 160 euro per person without drink or service charges. They had two sittings and if you were a family of five after spending nearly a thousand euro taking the first sitting you would have to vacate quite quickly to let the second sitting take over.

Another hotel in the centre near Grafton Street that is Irish owned was also open, but by coincidence the price was exactly the same.

Looking outside Dublin, hotels around the country that were open and took guests for 2 or 3 nights were generally much more expensive than they would normally be. I stayed at a fabulous hotel on the west coat for the second time last June. Like the others I discovered their Christmas break prices had gone up considerably.

With the credit crunch biting hard in Ireland, it will be interesting to see if this changes for Christmas 2009.

If you are thinking of taking a break in Ireland over Christmas all of this is worth considering as the only place you might find open on Christmas day is the odd Chinese restaurant or petrol service station.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Have you booked your 2009 self catering holiday?

I have just received the January 2009 edition of France Magazine and a few days ago the January edition of Italy Magazine also came in the post.

We are sent these as and advertise in there and if fact have been advertising in those publications for several years now along with Living Spain and other magazines.

Looking through the magazines and seeing the fabulous colour photos you really feel you want to jump on the next flight off to one of those destinations. This can be by the sea, in the country or even a city break.

Despite of the credit crunch worries we at jml villas are still receiving numerous copy email enquiries to advertisers of self catering holiday homes.

People will be watching every penny or cent now as money becomes tighter and one way to spend less is to go self catering, booking direct with the owner and saving on agents costs.

When you do this remember don't forget your travel insurance or car hire excess insurance. Those are costs that can't be cut back on.

Listed below are a very small selection of enquiries we have recently received.

hello i was just viewing villas for 2009 and i came across yours i was wondering if it was avalible in august 2009 for 2 weeks and how much also does it include flights and transport to the villa and could you give a price on a party of 10 8 adults

hi, your house looks lovely, just wondering if you could let me know about booking for three to four nights over the new year period many thanks andy

Please can you tell us availability and cost for the two weeks 25th July to 8th August. There are 8 of us (2 families of 4). Please can you let us know if there is any other information you think we would need to know.Kind regardsMichelle

Enquiring re price and availability for 3 wk stay starting Sat 4th Jul 2009 for 5 adults. Look forward to hearing from youthank youAlex

Hello, I would be interested in renting your property form 18/07/09 to 25/07/09. Could you please send me all relevant details regarding terms and conditions and booking. Thank you

Is your villa availible for the weeks starting 17th or 24th August 2009? How much?Does the pool have a fence? Thank you.

I am looking for a villa for 10days from the 4th June 2009 until 13th june 2009 for 8 adults 1 child and 2 infants please can you tell me if you can give me a quote for this thank you

Hi there, I was wondering if this cottage is available for the week over new years and if so, how much would it cost? Thanks Jon

Please could you advise whether the villa is available for one week, commencing 27th December 2008. Many thanks

I am looking at renting you 3 bedroom house from the 13th december for three weeks. I will be for myself and two sons ages 17 and 20. Please forward me your price list and availability. many thanks Susie

Goedemorgen Vandaag vertrek ik al naar Marokko en heb nog geen reactie terug op mijn mail gekregen. Ik hoop alleen maar dat ik toch niet té veel lef had om bij jullie in te breken. Ik ben er tot 28 november en kan mail lezen daar.Vr.groe

Have you availability in August 2009 please? Many thanks and look forward to hearing back from you and if so, what is the rate (we are looking for 2 weeks).

I am interested in your property for 14 people from the 10th june 2009 for 7 nights. Could you please tell me your price for this stay. Thanks

I was wondering how much it would cost to rent your villa for 2 weeks in July 2009? It would be after 18th July. There would be four people. Thank you

I would like to enquire to see if the property is available towards the end of February for a 10 night stay. There are four of us coming over for a relaxing time,no exact dates yet. we would be looking at a max of £400 for the 10 days, Many Thanks Beckie

Hello, was enquiring how much this apartment would cost for 10days around the end of june? and is theres much difference between the price for 2 weeks?many thanks Emily

Hi,I have just found your villa on the JML website an wondered if you had availability from the 28th March 2009 for 2 weeks. We have a little flexibility (subject to flights) but need to be back in the UK by the 19th April at the latest. Cheryl

Could you please advise of cost and availability for the first two weeks in August 2009 jayne

Hi, Is your apartment available from the 2nd of August 2009 until the 16th of August 2009. thanks

Could you tell me if the Villa is available for 31 July 09 to 14 August 09 and the price for these two weeks. Could you please confirm the location to Pernera and if the Villa is in a quiet location. Slight flexibility can arrive 1 or 2 August. Thank

hello, we are searching a nice sea view appartment for the time 01.08.2009-15.08.2009 for two adults and a 5years old child. please contact us, if its possible to rent the rooms. thank you ingo

It is the time of year to plan your 2009 vacation and if you are a holiday home owner, why not advertise your property on

Do you know it only costs £11.75 a year including VAT! It is really a very low price and on the 19th December 08 exchange rate that is approximately $17.58 or €12.59. What can you buy for that drinks in a pub or cafe for maybe 3 or 4 people!!

We look forward to receving you holiday enquiries and listing those holiday rentals.

We have been around since 2002 and our brands , and receive numerous daily visits.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Morocco - Maroc A few facts for a short visit

Morocco is located on the northwestern corner of Africa. It is bordered with Algeria to the east and southeast, Mauritania to the south, to west by the Atlantic Ocean and north east by the Mediterranean. It is a fantastic country to visit with great contrasts of wealth and poverty. It is slightly smaller than France or Spain and it slightly larger than California,USA.

From a geographical point of view it is divided into four zones: - The Coastal area - Atlantic and Mediterranean - The plains with the great cities. The Rif and Atlas Mountains and the Sahara - desert and oasis.
A section of History: November 2005 saw the 50th anniversary of independence from French and Spanish rule. The country has a monarch at the head of state and an elected government. Prior to 1956 it was divided into French and Spanish zones. The Spanish running Tetouan, the Rif, Mediterranean and North Atlantic coast and parts of the Western Sahara and the French running the main cities - Casablanca, Fes, Marrakech and Rabat the capital. There is a very a much a French influence the cities and they even have the same yellow Post office letter boxes as in France and when entering the Motorway /autoroute network, you could briefly think you were in France looking at the signage.
The Spanish still have their two colonies Ceuta (opposite Gibraltar) and Melilla that run an hour ahead on Spanish time.
It is a constitutional monarchy with a popularly elected parliament, but the king has considerable excecutive powers. The country is a moderate Arab state which maintains close relations with Europe and the USA and was granted major non-NATO ally status in 2004. The political situation is stable.
The Economy: For many years Morocco has suffered from a weak economy based on agriculture. Over the last five years (from 2001) the economy has begun to expand, growing by 6.8 per cent in 2004. Today the three largest revenue earners are tourism, export of phosphates and remittances from expatriate Moroccans.The expanding economy owes much to the policies of King Mohammed VI who succeeded his conservative father in 1999. He is keen to see the country develop as a modern Islamic nation and to encourage foreign investment, that creates employment. Morocco has a Free Trade Agreement with the USA which took effect in January 2006. This allows for 98 per cent of trade in consumer and industrial products to be tariff free. A Free Trade Agreement with the EU will take effect in 2010.
Climate:The rugged mountain ranges and the Atlantic Ocean moderate the tropical heat of the country. The temperature is 16 degrees - 23 degrees C (62-73 F) on the west coast and 10 to 27 C (50 -81 F) in the interior. There are small variations of temperature along the Atlantic coast and the interior has extreme variations. The Atlas Mountains that divert the Atlantic winds have a pre-Saharan climate. The eastern slopes are relatively cool and well watered. The rainy season is from October to November and April to May. The maximum annual rain is in the north west.
MAIN CITIES Many of the larger towns and cities have the traditional old town "Medina" and a "Ville Nouvelle" where you will normally find hotels serving alcohol

Casablanca: Is the Principal city of Morocco. Although not the Capital (See Rabat below) with a population of over 5 million, it is close to the Aeroport Mohammed V. It is a large port city, larger than Marseilles in France - It was modeled in this port under French colonial rule. The city has the Mosquee Hassan II, built with a glass floor on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. The minaret is the tallest in the world - 200 hundred meters high. The roof also opens and shuts.
The city has the interesting Old Medina dating from the late 19th century. Casablanca is well known for the famous 1940's film with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. As the second world war was on - it was actually filmed in Hollywood. The Hotel Hyatt Regency located on the Place des Nations has a bar decorated from this film. Nearer the port and the docks Mosquee Hassan II you can find "Rick's bar" There is plenty to do and see here for 3/4 days.

Rabat: The Capital city -Since independence in 1956 is a lot smaller than Casablanca. The lively area is the Medina with many good value places to eat and this borders onto the beach. Points of interest are the Hassan Mosque, Mohammed V Mausoleum, The Kasbah des Oudaisas and the Citadel of Chellah.

Tangier / Tanja / Tanger:Is an international city located on the Atlantic/Mediterranean border that up to independence in 1956 had a special status as an "International zone". There is an international airport at Ibn Batouta and the main attractions are Place de France, The Grand Socco, The Medina, The Kasbah and the Dar el Makhzen.
Fes: Is the oldest of the Imperial Capitals. It is also a complete medieval city in the Arab world. There is an airport 15 km away at Sais. Sights to see: Fes el Bali, Medina, Ville Nouvelle, Merenid tombs and The Bou Inania.

Meknes:It is a sprawling prosperous provincial city situated south west of Fes. What to see:- The Imperial City, Bab Mansour, The Rouah and The Medina and the Souks (markets like in many Moroccan towns)

Marrakesh / Marrakech: Was called "Morocco City" by early travelers. It is Morocco's second largest city after Casablanca. A visitor there will immediately see the difference in wealth and people living on a day to day existence. The Djemaa el Fna is described as the most wonderful city square in the world. It is an open air circus with snake charmers, acrobats, musicians and very inexpensive restaurants that are wheeled out from a storage yard at night
holiday resort after the original town was ruined by an earthquake in 1960. It is a wonderful to experience to visit this city.

Essaouira: Is a traditional fishing town west of Marrakech on the Atlantic coast. It is considered fashionable with foreign holiday home buyers.

Travel: The railway network that is run by ONCF is mostly in the north. A good service that is not expensive to travel on and even first class travel does not cost a lot. There is a motorway /autoroute along the north west coast (south of Casablanca to Tangier and to Fes.
Taxis are a feature of the country. The "Grand" taxi operate on a wide selection of routes - normally a Mercedes that came from the 1970s / 1980's - don't expect to find seat belts!. These carry up to 6 passengers and it is often normal to share the taxi. Each town or city will have its "Petit Taxi" a much smaller (and nearly as old Peugeot 205 / Fiat Uno) and there will be a different colour for each town. - Red in Casablanca - blue in Rabat - yellowish brown in Marrakesh etc. These are very econominical for traveling around in. Finally there are the buses - they are slightly cheaper than the Grand Taxi.

Riads - houses built around a patio garden. They are like a guest house although many are being transformed into houses to rent out to tourists. The interest in this type of property took off in Marrakesh where many a fine example can be found, some now just offering food.
Currency: - Dirham (DH)=100 centimes . Morocco is well worth a visit

First Visit impressions of Morocco

Having never visited Morocco or even Africa, I was very excited at the prospect in mid November 2005.
As soon as I boarded the Royal Air Maroc plane at London Heathrow on a late Saturday afternoon I was in another world. Announcements and signage in English French and Arabic. Moroccan stile cuisine and hospitality.

On arrival at the Aeroport Mohammed V after showing you passport several times I was soon on the motorway to Casablanca that is the principal city of the country (but not the capital). It seemed rather like being in France – autoroute signage, A French chain owned DIY store, but not so once the taxi had entered Casablanca itself. Here there were people walking out in front of cars, cars just about avoiding other ones and I was\very pleased I was not actually doing the driving, particularly with the lack of seat belts (or even one that worked!).
There is a great French influence in the country – it was ruled by the French and Spanish till 1956 and a lot of architecture new and old is very much of the French influence and even the Post boxes are the same shape and yellow colour as in France.
November is probably not the best time of year to visit the country, particularly if you don’t want to get wet. The rainy season is from October to November and April to May. On my second day I took the train from Casablanca to Rabat the capital. There is a very efficient and inexpensive rail network that is mainly in the north of the country.
Unfortunately just before arriving at the station in Rabat the heavens opened. They had done on the previous day as I explored Casablanca, but the visit to Rabat only lasted just over an hour, because this wasn’t rain, it was flash floods and the roads suddenly took on the appearance of rivers. So much for exploring Rabat.
The day before in Casablanca was much more successful. I had spent a while reading a popular traveler's guide book that helped me understand more about the culture and people. I was not too surprised with offers by people wanting to help, show and ask for money. Men holding hands as they walked along or kissing when they met (like a guard greeting one his passengers) was part of normal life, it happened because they were friends, not a sexual relationship as would be thought of in the west. I also knew that I had to be careful taking photos as many women are not happy about this.
The city has the Mosquee Hassan II a spectacular site, that is built with a glass floor on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. The minaret is the tallest in the world — 200 hundred meters high. The roof also opens and shuts.
Unlike a lot of European countries where taxis are modern vehicles, in Morocco you will find the large “Grand” taxis that normally travel with as many people legally possible going from town to city and are usually a Mercedes of the 1980s era that will be a certain colour depending on the town or city they are based in. Each town will also have its own coloured “Petit Taxi”. Theses are normally Peugeots and Fiats (colour coded for each town or city) that most likely started life in the 1980’ and 1990s in Europe and were exported south to start a new lease of life as a passenger carrying vehicle for four.
Moving onto Marrakesh ( known as Marrakech locally) by train proved to be very interesting. Paying the additional amount for first class at least guaranteed a comfortable seat, although my limited experience in second class did not prove to have any discomfort. The landscape changes with more and more “dryer fields”, even cacti being cultivated in places and farmers using ploughs pulled by horses or donkeys. You can see Atlas Mountains in the distance as you come into Marrakesh. Many people decide to stay in the "Ville Nouvelle" where you will find the western style hotels and even villa complexes a few miles out where you are enclosed from the outside “real” world. I was staying in a small Riad in the centre off the Djemaa el Fna – the large city centre square in the Medina.
A Riad is a type of Guest House that is normally built round a patio garden. Normally some of the rooms are open plan to the elements and there is not so much rain there as nearer the coast. The experience of reaching the destination was varied. A petit taxi to the edge of the Djemaa el Fna and then because taxi are not allowed in after midday you have to hire a porter and cart.
The square is full of mobile restaurants, traders, snake charmers and appears to be very much alive most hours of the day.
There are also several panoramic cafés where you can get a superb view day or night of the surrounding scene including the Koutoubia Mosque . If you want to sit there and have a beer or glass of wine think again. Morocco is an Islamic nation so alcohol drinking is not a high priority. Although wine and beer are produced in the country, many cafes and restaurants would only serve light drinks (Coke, orange, mineral water, coffee etc) or the national. drink -mint tea. You certainly would not have a problem in the hotels in the "Ville Nouvelle".
The food is generally excellent and very reasonable as well. The traditional Moroccan — Tajine (A steam cooked meat stew) and couscous were tried.
The country has great contrasts of wealth and poverty. There are numerous developments being built as holiday homes near to Marrakesh and the three hour drive back to Casablanca to take the plane back home took in the new prosperous areas and past little “shanty”town areas of small buildings with corrugated iron roofs held down with boulders and each having a satellite dish. The taxi driver made a couple of stops to buy cigarettes. By the side of the road someone would come out with either packets or split packets. On each occasion the driver bought 2 cigarettes.
Jobs are very important, the host at the Riad said that a waiter in a restaurant cannot afford to make mistakes. He knows that there is another million of unemployed people waiting to take the job. There are numerous police about. Normally going around in fours or more. They man roadblocks at the entrances and exits to most towns. This is probably high security or could be giving the employed force more to do.
If you are going there on holiday make sure that you spend your Dirhams before you get to the airport. You won’t be able to change themback in the departures area or spend them on drink or tobacco at the Duty Free – they only accept euros.
The country is large – about the of California USA, there is a lot to see, I would like to visit other cities like Tangier and Fes. Even though it rained in Casablanca and Rabat it was hot dry and sunny in Marrakesh and the last night of 17 degrees centigrade on the roof of the Riad was quite a contrast to 24 hours later back in the south of England that was undergoing one of the first cold spells of the winter.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Is your Holiday Home Insurance Policy Written in a Language that you can Understand?

You have just purchased that dream holiday home property and one issue that needs to be sorted out prior to the completion is the property insurance.

Imagine if that property was in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Denmark, Germany or Italy. Do you speak the language well enough to understand the insurance in Portuguese for example?
Many insurance companies in European countries have advisers who speak English, however normally the policy will still be in the local language. Insurance policies are often difficult enough to understand in your mother tongue, but in a foreign language you probably wouldn’t know what was covered and what was not.
As there are more and more British and Irish owners of self catering holiday rental properties about so insurance companies knew there was a cery good market there for people actually being able to understand the extent of the insurance cover.

There is an answer now as several British based insurance companies are now covering overseas properties. The policy is written in English and you deal with someone who is experienced with insurance on holiday home properties in the country that your second home is located in.

There are now also many multinational insurance companies with familiar names in Britain that are becoming just as well known in France and Spain.
Many of these can now help with your insurance, but careful research on the Internet or recommendation from friends is very important.

You do need to ensure that the property is covered for paying guests and when you are not in residence for several months a year. The other major considerations are: Theft, Malicious Damage, Fire, Flood, Burst, Pipes, Storm, Impact with road vehicles, Subsidence, Landslip, Heave and Earthquakes.
From personal experiences when my holiday home in France was insured with a French company, they would not cover any water supply pipes from the water meter to the property. The UK insurance company will do this.

“Small print” in insurance documents is often hard enough to understand in your own language and very difficult in a foreign one, so never be afraid to ask for professional advice explaining anything that you are not happy with.
More information on Overseas Property and Holiday Home insurance can be found here

Holiday Home Insurance?

Why do I need Holiday Home Insurance?

If you own or are purchasing a holiday home in the UK then most standard household insurance policies will not protect rented property

You therefore need to a specialist policy for your holiday home property that is designed exclusively for properties used as holiday homes or let for holiday use. As an owner of a holiday home, it is vital that you fully understand the extent and limitations of your insurance policy.

  • What restrictions are in place when letting and unoccupancy etc?
  • Do you have cover for public liability or loss of use?

Holiday home insurance policies abroad can be full of catches - Take care.

Claiming on a holiday home insurance abroad can be very complicated. Dealing with complex insurance policies on overseas homes is something more and more people are having to come to terms with.

There are now more than 1 million properties owned by the British.

What can you do? First of all read and check the small print in the policy. If it is in a language that you do not understand have it translated.

Establish whether your cover does exactly what it is so that the insurer cannot reject a claim at a later stage.

Make sure that your property is compliant for a country's particular legislation. In France now a swimming pool has to be properly gated and if your pool does not comply with the law, it could invalidate the entire policy.

Make sure that your buildings insurance covers the gardens and outbuildings, not just the house.

Let the insurance company know that you are letting the property out and when you let it out to holiday makers, make sure that the visitors have taken out their own travel insurance.

In some cases you might not be covered for subsidence and earthquakes and the Public Liability level is often lower such as in Portugal.

Rather like in Britain you might have conditions, that if you are away from the property for more than a month you might need someone to check it over regularly, drain down plumbing and leave heating on.

If you have a mortgage, the lender might be able to provide advice or as you might well have a bank account with a bank in the country the property is situated in, contact them.

A lot of British based insurance companies are now covering overseas properties and many of these can be found via the web.

There are now also many multinational insurance companies operating, names that are familiar in Britain are becoming just as familiar in France and Spain. Shop around and take care

There are specialist companies like Intasure and Andrew Copeland Insurance Consultants Ltd

It can be difficult enough reading the "small print" in your own language so a foreign language can prove somewhat difficult.

Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival - Jazz à Juan

The annual jazz festival (Jazz à Juan) takes place at Juan Les Pins in July. It is held in the Pinede (pine grove). It was in 1960 that the Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival was officially launched. Stéphane Grapelli played at the first festival. The town is now twinned with the French quarter of New Orleans, USA. The Pinede is between the Mediterranean and Le Provençal that was once a famous hotel till the 1960's and stood empty for more than 40 years and is currently being converted into luxury apartments.
The view from this open air theatre is superb, as in the photo above of Ahmad Jamal playing in 2006 with the Mediterranean backdrop and the coast running past Golfe Juan towards Cannes.
The 48th Festival - July 10th to 20th 2008 featured: Ruthie Foster, James Blunt (10th July), Didier Lockwood, Thomas Dutronc (11th July), James Morrison & Joe Chindamo Quartet, Al Jarreau (12th July), Yaron Herman, John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension (13th July), Sashird Lao, Nicole Henry (14th July), Solomon Burke, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings (15th July), Roy Hargrove, Marcus Miller (16th July), Nathalie Soles, Diana Panton, Stephu Haik, Virginie Teychene (17th July), Keith Jarrett with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette (18th July), Women of Chicago Blues, Bill Wyman & The Rhythm Kings (19th July) and on the final night - 20th July Nicole Slack Jones & The Soul Sisters.
I attended the 2008 festival for the Keith Jarrett Trio ( Keith Jarrett - Gary Peacock - Jack Dejohnette) who were making a regular visit to the Festival. The music was superb and the sound quality in the auditorium down to the final piano note. A most enjoyable evening.
There are some licenced photos of the event here

Goodwood Revival 10 years on -2008

It was the 10th anniversary on the 19th to 21st September 2008 of the Goodwood Revival and I have just spent a most enjoyable day there.
Back in 1948 the motor racing circuit a short distance from Chichester and the Sussex coast was the home to the first post Second World War motor race.

The four mile circuit on the Goodwood estate was created by the 9th Duke of Richmond, Freddie March on the ex RAF aerodrome using the perimeter road.
Motor racing took place there from 1948 till 1966 and I remember my eldest brother and his friends setting off their on a regular basis including bank holidays. On one particular occasion he was able to drive his "frog eyed" green Austin Healy Sprite around the circuit.
In 1998 the grandson of the 9th Duke of Richmond, the present Earl of March staged the first Goodwood revival recreating the era of the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.
Sunday 21st was my third visit to a Goodwood Revival and it took place on one of the best days of the terrible 2008 English summer. Warm weather, but not too hot for those who had dressed up in period costumes of the 1950's and 1960's or my "flat cap".
My first visit was when the late motor cycling champion Barry Sheene made his final visit before dying of cancer some months later.

A new feature this year has been the introduction of "The Earls Court Motor Show" This was a very clever idea of having a 1948 motor show showing what cars could look like sixty years later! Here you had cars like Fords BMWs, Maseratis and Jaguars of the 1948 along with their counterparts from 2008. A stepback in time and look at the future that was in fact the present.
There amongst the collection of Jaguar cars was racing veteran (Sir) Stirling Moss signing autographs.
The day was full of other famous name racing drivers, like Emerson Fittipaldi, Jack Brabham, Tony Jardine, Martin Brundle (of ITV Formula 1 commentary and ex FI driver) who together with Adrian Newey came third in the exciting one hour Royal Automobile Club TT celebration race.
Apart from the professional drivers there are the regular amateurs like comedian Rowan Atkinson and former BMW dealership owner Frank Sytner whom I have seen racing at the Historic Grand Prix at Monaco on a couple of occasions.
The Goodwood Revival and the Historic Monaco Grand Prix are great fun. At Monaco you cannot get close to the cars and of course they cover a much period of time. You are restricted to staying in your seat on the stands ans watching the races, whereas at Goodwood you really need to go for at least two of the three days to really take it all in.
Dates for 2009 Goodwood Motor Racing Events
Goodwood Festival of Speed - 3rd, 4th, 5th July 2009
Goodwood Revival - 18th, 19th, 20th September 2009
Hope the Revival is as good in 2009 as it was in 2008

Friday, 28 November 2008

Rain in Lisbon Lisboa Portugal in February

Our guide book said that Lisbon bears the brunt of the Atlantic depressions, being located on the west coast of the country by the Atlantic and the mouth of the River Tagus. The book advises that rainfall is high in December and January and becomes lighter in February.

The city does need this rain as there is still some around in March and there is not much till later in the year apart from a few thunderstorms and showers.
We arrived on Thursday morning. It was raining as we landed at Portela Airport. We had expected this as checking weather forecasts on the television and the Internet, this was predicted for Thursday and Friday.

By the time our taxi had dropped us off at our very smart boutique hotel in the Rua das Janelas (near the River Tagus) and next to the Embassy of Luxembourg),it was drying up.

The guide book advised buying a pre-paid taxi voucher from the information desk at the airport as some taxis are notorious for overcharging.

Seat Belts: Our taxi driver was very efficient and appeared to be the only one in Lisbon to wear a seat belt! It appears that taxi drivers, the police, ambulance and emergency service personnel don't have to. This seems absolutely incredible as Lisbon has one of Europe's highest traffic accident rates. According to statistics in one month in 2000 there were 3,500 accidents with 103 deaths. The emergency services taking you to hospital are not protecting themselves. I saw two TV news reports whilst there with bad traffic accidents. It must be a very bad example to drivers that taxi drivers and police do not wear belts. They save life, however in many countries including Belgium the police don't "belt up".

In Ireland the taxi drivers used to drive without added protection, the rules have been changed. You don't often find a driver not wearing a belt - they would probably loose their taxi licence.

The afternoon was spent exploring part of the city, taking a 25 minute walk rather than a quick ride on the Carris "No 60" bus into the centre for the evening.

The transport system is superb, we only used the trams, buses and trains, not the metro, but the system is very efficient, very cheap and you don't have to give the correct money - they give change. There are modern double length trams, however because of the narrow streets and steep hills the old small trams are fantastic to look at and very comfortable inside with plenty of polished wood and windows. Pictured top left)

The rain held off for the evening and our hotel was very welcoming with a decanter of port by the bed that was regularly topped up during the stay. They did not have a bar, but two self service bars and you simply filled in a form when you had a drink. There was plenty of complimentary tea, coffee and cakes and biscuits whenever you wanted this.

Friday was forecast to be wet, even if bright sunshine was shining through the windows in the morning. That was soon gone and it got darker. After a while it got brighter again the rain moving away so we ventured out into the centre taking one of these vintage" No 28" (in picture above) trams on an interesting ride up and down narrow streets towards the Castel de São Jorge, although trams do not go that far and we had a lot of climbing to do. There is however a bus that takes you there if you prefer.

The weather got worse during the afternoon and the hotel was a most welcoming retreat. The rain continued on and off (mostly on) for most of the evening and finding somewhere to eat proved somewhat difficult. We did find a fish restaurant that was ok, however as soon as you took a breather by putting your knife and fork down, you nearly lost it!

Restaurants in Lisbon: In my opinion the selection of restaurants in Lisbon is not good. For a city with a population of over 536,000 (and in greater Lisbon 1,836,000) the choice was poor.

Unlike Dublin, Brussels and other major cities restaurants are difficult to find and there are not too many bars. I was pleased we were not staying more than four nights as it was difficult to find suitable places, particularly on a Sunday night when numerous restaurants were shut. As we were searching for a restaurant in our guide book (that was closed) we did however find a very character bar in the Rua D.Perdro V.

This establishment called the Pavilhão Chinês Bar is a former 19th century tea and coffee shop is a really quirky bar with an incredible display of toy soldiers, trams, trains and "nick knacks" with waiters smartly dressed there are several rooms including one with a couple of snooker tables in them. The bar serves non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks and light snacks. Had it been nearer our hotel and not at the top of a steep hill street, we would have been back again.

On Saturday the weather was as exactly forecast earlier in the week, the sun came out and the blue sky. This meant we could take a bus ride out to Belém by the River Tagus.

The Padrao dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) is well worth visiting for the views after taking the lift to the top. It was built in commemoration of the heroes of Portugal's maritime history.

You also get great views of the Torre de Belém. After walking along the area that has a couple of marinas (but lacks in seats for people to sit down and enjoy the views) it was time for a leisurely drink and light lunch at a restaurant that was built out of white rsj girders and glass.
It was a pleasure to see the sun for the entire day and then returning to the hotel and enjoy the views from the "library" situated on the top floor with a spacious balcony overlooking the port and the vesting P & O cruise ship.

Sunday was not quite as sunny, however it didn't rain. This meant it was an ideal opportunity to take the 30 minute train journey to the Atlantic coast. Once again great value €3.30 one way for two people! There was a fun run ending at Cascais when we arrived and it was great to walk around the marina, on the beach and along the cost towards Estoril home of the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Monday was return home day, it was raining again. Well it certainly does exactly was it states in the guide book - rains in February, however the temperature was as predicted as well a pleasant 15 degrees. Information about Portugal self catering rentals here

Barcelona in February Well worth a visit

Barcelona is hip, vibrant, welcoming. The capital of Catalonia and one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean, it's an eclectic mixture of Gothic, 'modernist' and contemporary architectural treasures.

Its most famous landmark is the Sagrada Familia cathedral, the fairy-tale like building in the northern part of the city centre. Its creator, Antoni Gaudi, commenced work on it in 1882 and concentrated all his energies on it until his untimely death in 1926, when he was run-over by a tram. The SAGRADA FAMILIA is still under construction and may take another 50 years to complete. You can visit its interior and take a lift to the top of the building.
Gaudi was born in Reus, in the province of Tarragona in 1852 and was the undoubted leader of the 'modernist' movement that began in the second half of the 19th century. If you want to see some of the most original buildings, which took the art nouveau concept to new heights, head for the L'EIXAMPLE area, to the north-west of the RAMBLAS in the BARRI GOTHIC area, a stone's throw from the port.
The Barri Gothic 'quartier' is the oldest part of the city; a mix of narrow streets and beautiful squares and for lovers of Tapas bars, a paradise. The TAVERNA DEL BISBE, close to the Gothic cathedral, serves wonderful grilled fish such as calamars, which you can wash down with excellent Rioja. Hotel Jardi is a 2-star hotel in this area, which is clean, welcoming and won't burn a hole in your pocket. It's located in . Plaça Sant Josep Oriol 1, Barri Gòtic.
Just off the Ramblas in Placa Reial, is the TAXIDERMISTA an excellent medium priced restaurant which serves a mix of Catalonian dishes and ones from other European countries. It's one of the few restaurants outside of northern Italy that prepares memorable risotto.

GUELL PARK (pictured top left)in the north ot the city has wonderful views of Barcelona and the sea beyond. Another Gaudi masterpiece appeals to kids of all ages and, importantly, includes the house where Gaudi lived for many years, replete with the original furniture - also created by the master architect / designer.
LA BARCELONETA at the sea was a shanty-beach before Barcelona was awarded the 1992 OLYMPIC GAMES. It was part of the Olympic Port area for the watersport activities of the Games and is close to the Olympic Village. There is a cluster of good, medium priced tapas bars and restaurants on the beach, including AGUA, a neat restaurant that serves delicious food.
L'ASCENSOR (You acually walk through an old lift to enter the bar) the middle of the Barri Gothic quarter is an intimate little bar, ideal for a nightcap to finish the day's visits.

L'EIXAMPLE, north of the Barrio Gothic and west of LAS RAMBLAS, is the district where most of the 'modernist' buildings of Gaudi and his contemporaries Puig and Domenech i Montaner created their original buildings for their clients in the second part of the 19th century. Definitely worth visiting.

TOUR AGBAR, designed by Jean Nouvel, is a dramatic cigar-shaped skyscraper 142 metres high. It's covered by 60,000 pieces of coloured glass.
CATALAN MUSIC MUSEUM (La Muisica) is another superb piece of modernist architecture, created in the early 20th century by Lluis Domenech i Montamer.
PLACA REIAL, close to the Ramblas, is elegant with its palm trees and elegant arcades.

CAMP NOU is home to the FC Barcelona club, currently the best in Spain and also in Europe.
Enjoy your visit to Barcelona, Spain

Flying From Heathrow Is Not Necessarily Quicker – A Personal Viewpoint

Over the past year I travelled via London Luton and London Heathrow on several occasions.
I have found that the service from London Heathrow to Dublin very reliable – no delays and arriving on time. The only occasion there was a delay was on the evening of Thursday July 7th 2005 – Understandable.

People generally think that the budget airlines will be more delayed than other airlines flying from a major airport like Heathrow. My experience this year of flying to Nice from London Heathrow has proved otherwise.

In March I took a very early flight to Nice. We say on the tarmac for nearly three quarters of an hour in the early morning, before starting the “joy ride” around Heathrow joining a large queue of planes wanting to take off. The plane taxied past the new Terminal 5 (How on earth they will cope with the extra passengers in the airspace when it opens – you will probably circle around London for an hour!) and eventually we were airborne.

The plane had a good tailwind, but it still arrived over three quarters of an hour late. Why? Are there too many planes coming in and out ? Maybe it is only on certain routes.

In May I took the Friday evening flight from Heathrow. Cannes film festival was well underway and the fifth Historic Monaco Grand Prix was on that weekend.

On arrival at Terminal 1 check in, my wife and I were offered a trade in for our tickets. They had sold more tickets than they had seats for and were asking each passenger if they would prefer to stay in a hotel overnight in the Heathrow area and fly on the Saturday morning.

We were not interested. We checked in and went through the controls to the “shopping centre” to await the notification of which gate to proceed to. It was getting nearer and nearer to departure time and still no notification. I went to the British Airways help desk and was told the flight gate would be announced any minute. It was about a minute later, about seven minutes before it was due to take off.

Fortunately the departure gate was one of the closer ones to the terminal – about five minutes walk. It was several more minutes before we actually boarded and the rest of the 100 per cent full plane. By this time it was about twenty minutes after the time it should have taken off. The cabin crew representative apologised for the delay that had been down to “extra cleaning”. We lost our take off slot and nearly an hour later than we should have taken off, actually got airborne.

We should have arrived in Nice just before 11.30 pm local time with sufficient time to get to Terminal 2 to collect the rental car. Although the plane made up time, it was still after midnight when we landed at Terminal one. The car rental company had a sign up saying go to their depot at Terminal two. We decided to check to see if they were still open and they, plus some of their competitors were still there as they officially closed at midnight.

There were also other people there collecting carsand I thanked the receptionist for staying on. She told me this happened every night. I received in the post a few days after my return home a bill for 39 euros for out of hours attendance.

I wrote to the airline saying that as the plane was delayed as they had to undertake “extra cleaning” and that as they would have been more than happy to pay for two people’s hotel accommodation as they had overbooked the flight that a reimbursement of the 39 euros would be welcome.

I heard nothing for a couple of weeks, so sent a follow up. They replied back from the original letter saying that they could not reimburse “taxi expenses” and that they hoped I would fly again with them soon. I replied to them, suggesting that my letter had not even been read correctly and yes, I was going to Nice again in July, but this time had booked with a competitor.

I received a very polite but brief letter from the Customer Relations person saying that they certainly could not compensate us. It would have been interesting to know what costs they would have had to pay to accommodate us in a hotel with food etc as they offered on that May Friday evening.

In July we went to Nice via London, Luton. Yes the plane was late coming in from Geneva, but as soon as it was emptied and refuelled etc we were on our way. There was a small queue with aircraft waiting to take off, but generally it was a lot, lot better. Luton is getting busier, but usage over the last year have included, Amsterdam, Dublin and Barcelona and the delays have not been like those at London Heathrow. What is more the on-site long term car parking is a lot cheaper than at Heathrow.

The plans for Heathrow are to make it even larger. Although there is a lot of local opposition, the villages of Sipson and Harmondsworth will probably disappear in the next few years and become the third runway plus Terminals 6,7 plus. That airspace is going to be exceptionally crowded and it will probably take the same time to fly from most European destinations to the Heathrow area as now, however it will then probably mean the plane is stacking and circling for more than hour to actually land!

Philip Suter is a Director of jml Property Services; a UK based company offering Insurance products on line at and a holiday home advertising service management training within the UK. He a travel writer and is a very experienced property consultant with over 30 years work in the Residential letting business in the UK and served on the National Council of ARLA. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and a Member of The association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)

Sanremo - Italian Riviera - Italy

Sanremo is located a short distance over the border from Menton, France. It is approximately 55 kilometres from Nice Airport. Located on the Ligurian sea coast. On the Italian side it is conveniently located for the airport at Genoa - Genova. Since the 1800,s the mild climate has been enjoyed by European visitors from the colder north when aristocracy and royalty started to visit the area.

It has not changed greatly over the years, with splendid buildings and harbour.

Sanremo is world famous for the annual Music Festival held in February, however there are concerts throughout the year and many outdoor ones in the summer including a jazz festival in August. The famous casino has musical events on the roof during the summer.It opened in 1905 and is illuminated at night. In addition just walk around the town and stop at a bar. Every summer bars and restaurants organise their own musical evenings.

The real heart of Sanremo is the medieval area known as La Pigna.It dates back to 1038. It is named after a pine cone as it supposed to resemble the old town with golden yellow, pink and stone walls. It is very much un spoilt by tourism and is slowly being modernised

Visitors go to Sanremo to shop. Most shops do not open on a Monday morning, so time your visit to arrive in the afternoon. There is nearly as much French spoken as Italian, especially as there are numerous visitors from France as the prices are often somewhat lower. There are boutiques in the pedestrianised Via Palazzo and the Corso Garibaldi.

On a Tuesday and Saturday there is a large market in Piazza Eroi Sanremesi. This is located a a short distance from the San Síro Cathedral around the watch tower - Torre della Ciapèla - all that is left of the old town's defensive walls after the town planning of the 1930,s. In the market you can buy leather goods - handbags, belts, shoes and gloves as well as jumpers, ornaments and much much more. The adjoining friut, vegetable and fish market is also well worth a visit.

Stroll down to the seafront to the old harbour - Porto Vechia and you will find a selection of restaurants and cafés with plenty of seafood and other Italian fare. There are more on the pedestrianised street that takes you from the harbour to the town centre. At night the Piazza Bresca comes alive, although slightly more expensive to eat in.

Enjoy your visit to San Remo

It must be Friday the Internet holiday home rental scammers are active!

Ever since jml Property Services launched in 2001 people have tried to obtain money from the holiday home owners who advertised\ on the site and the much improved jml in 2004.

Now that the summer season over and it is October 07, it is the time when the scam operators come out of the woodwork.

They basically operate by contacting an advertiser and offer to pay in advance for several months when holiday home lettings are much harder to fill. They then want the owners bank details and arrange a payment. This will normally be for far too much money.

They then contact the owner of the property and ask the owner to refund the overpayment. If the owner does this, they will soon find out the original payment they received was bogus and they have just sent off a payment to some individual who claimed to over paid them and are now, out of pocket!

jml receives copies of the initial email enquiries between an applicant and advertiser and whenever possible if they see these warn a property owner. Quite often there is a bulk mailing and it is not possible to warn property owners.

Clients have asked Philip Suter of jml if they can stop people doing this. The answer is although the web company can stop an individual email address, it actually only take a few minutes for an individual these days to create a new email address.

The main points to look out for are:
These emails often don’t make much sense; they will email someone about their holiday property in Greece or Ireland and say they are coming to France for a long honeymoon.

The English is often poor and so is the spelling! — “hello am s.... m.... an international model l love to rent your villa for a month to spend my vacation .so l would like you to furnish me with the total cost of the villa for a month thru my email” or "Good day My purpose of written the mail to you is Because of my client Mrs H..... want to rent your AprtmentHouse For 2 weeks Rent My Client Location In address " or “I \'m interested in your apartment for 2weeks free in the month of September/October and also i will like to know the cost of the 2weeks so that i can pay VIA Cheque, pls kindly get back to me via my email address ok.”,or finally “my name is mary, A female modelling in west Africa. I will like you to know that I am intrested in renting your room for 3months so that I can stay there for the moment I came for a concert in the state I will like you to give me the cost of the room”

They will often ask for photos of the flat and if they had actually read the full add on would have seen that it was full of photos of the property and it was not a flat but a villa with a swimming pool.

Email addresses are often from yahoo and many of these actually come from Eastern Africa.
People have lost money and when a property owner has a mortgage, the though of several months rent coming in sounds great. The only thing is that no one will actually turn up, as they don’t exist.

Earlier this year at jml we decided to follow one of these scams through a bit. Here are the details. “greeting to you, A client of mine is sending his just wedded pastor and wife with 2 kids of age 14(twins)on a honey moon trip in your country. Starting from the 3rd week of June to fourth week of September and asked me to check an availability of your family suit or 2/3 rooms. Please do get back to me with the total cost of this stay with discount,if will be available for this period. Yours Faithfully”

Reply from jml Administration: "€40,0000 for 2 weeks bed and breakfast"
Reply "Thanks for your mail. I think bank to bank wire transfer is the method of payment so my client want you to send the current pictures of the apartment for further arrangement. Please, do get back with the pictures and current condition so we can make this deal sealed as soon as possible. P G..."

jml Administration found a picture of a windmill and sent it on.
Reply " Thanks for your prompt response. I have forwarded the picture to my client and is very much interested in the apartment and i want you to get back with the location where the apartment is and also get back with your contact telephone number so we can call you for more information. And also i want you to have it in your mind that my client is paying via bank to bank wire transfer to your nominated account. Looking forward to hear from you"

Reply from jml Administration: "I am sorry this must be a rental scam — Your client wants to spend two weeks in a windmill that costs €40,0000 for 2 weeks bed and breakfast!!" No more follow up emails came in from this person – It certainly must have been a scam!

The advice from jml is to take great care all the time. The site has even had similar enquiries coming in French! These people do target many holiday homes rental sites and the problem is according to Philip Suter that there are genuine people out there surfing the net looking for holiday home rentals and their native language is not English. They use mechanised translating systems like Google and often the translation will come over rather strange to someone reading it.

jml Villas is part of jml Property Services. The company started marketing holiday homes for rental on line in 2001 when there were not many sites involved in this type of business. Initially focusing on Europe, they have several hundred properties available worldwide. Jml Property Services also runs jml a web site offering non standard insurance products like car hire excess insurance and grave memorial stone insurance as well as the more popular products like landlord and tenant insurance, car and property insurance.

Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed – The Problems of Sharing Your Holiday Home with Paying Guests

If you are a holiday home owner, you might choose to let it out to produce additional revenue, or of you a lot of financial responsibilities like a mortgage, might not have a choice. If you do let remeber that you have now started a business - a business in your own home.

Naturally if you only visit the property a few times of a year you should employ a local agent (or very reliable friend or family member) to look after your interests.

A smooth running operation will mean that your paying guests will be checked in and out and provided you or the agent holds a damage deposit (and if you don’t you are taking a very high risk) any damages can be paid for. You can of course walk in and find that you have “new works of art on your living room walls” as a result of small guests exercising their drawing skills and you have to organise re-decoration yourself.

The problem of course is that although the property is your property, it is rather like letting strangers (or even friends) have the use of your own main home. Your possessions will get moved – You might find your kitchen cupboards are all re-arranged. You won’t be able to keep the beds made up, your clothes in the wardrobe or your prize cd collection out.

Other inconveniences are that you either have to unplug all the telephones and computers or just get the phone lines put in suspense as otherwise you could have some rather large phone bills and no come back.

When you leave, unless you want to risk loosing your alcohol and food, you have to lock it away. Guests don’t normally intentionally use up something in a holiday home rental house’s kitchen, however how are they to know it was not something left over from the last paying guest!
Storage cupboard with lock: ideally you the property owner should have a secure cupboard or room where you can keep your own possessions. You at least know they won’t be touched by anyone than yourself. The drawback is that every time you come and go you have to get things out and put then away when you leave. As time goes by the average house owner collects more and more possessions that they don’t want to “expose” to their visitors so the problems of settling in (and moving out) get worse.

To avoid these problems you can of course stop letting the property out, know that the remote control for the television and DVD player are where you left them, but there again you wouldn’t benefit from that additional income, knowing the property was being aired (particularly in winter) and paying the tax authorities tax on your rental profits!
Good luck with your holiday vacation rentals and enjoy your holiday home with or without paying guests.

Philip Suter is a Director of jml Property Services; a UK based company offering Insurance products on line at and a holiday home advertising service and management training within the UK. He a travel writer and is a very experienced property consultant with over 30 years work in the Residential letting business in the UK and served on the National Council of ARLA. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and a Member of The association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)

Website Promotion for Self catering Holiday Home web sites

This article provides a general over-view of website promotion.

Title, description and keywords

Use these sections to describe the contents of your website. Try and think of words that people will type into search engines. When you submit your website to a search engine it sends a 'robot' which is a computer program that scans your site for content then memorises it. When someone searches for a word or phrase on the search engine, all of the websites that have that word or phrase in them will be presented to the searcher.

Reciprocal links

Search engines often judge the relevance and importance of a website by the number of people linking to it. The more important a search engine considers a website to be, the higher up the rankings it will be.
Therefore try to get as many people to swap links with you as possible.

Online classifieds and FFA's

Just like their offline counterparts, online classifieds will allow you to post an advert for a limited period of time. Most of them are free, but some expect payment.
FFA's (Free for all adverts) allow you to post a link to your website on a large bulletin board, for people to see. Again the advert will only remain for a short period of time.

The effectiveness of both these methods is argued by web marketers. Some say they are good and some feel them to be a waste of time. If you do use them, it is advised that you get one of the free e-mail addresses, such as HotMail. This is because you need to submit an e-mail address with your posting, which allows people to collect e-mail addresses and send you unwanted e-mails, otherwise known as spam. Using the free e-mail will avoid your real e-mail inbox from being clogged up with spam.

The Internet can provide some free advertising, but if you really want high quality, targeted traffic who are interested in renting holiday homes, why not advertise your property on a directory like ?

As an organisation, advertises in national newspapers, travel magazines and has high search engine rankings and a large reciprocal links network. This allows it a substantial amount of traffic.

Bringing your pet to the UK? Taking your pet out of the UK for a holiday? Taking your pet to Ireland?

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is the system that allows pet animals from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet certain criteria. It also means that people in the UK who 'meet' these conditions can take their pets to these countries and bring them back without the need for quarantine.

The scheme: (PETS) only applies to domestic Cats and Dogs* including registered assisted dogs (i.e. guide dogs and hearing dogs.) It does not include any other animals like rabbits, guinea pigs or hamsters etc. The scheme is limited and only operates from certain countries and territories coming into the UK. It is against the law in Great Britain to possess certain types of dogs and meeting the requirements of PETS will not change that.

Under the scheme which is also know as PETS, animals can travel across Europe without the need to be placed into quarantine for 6 months on their return to the UK.

Joining PETS Passport Scheme
At least 6 months before the date of travel into the UK:
The dog or cat must be fitted with a microchip.
The animal must be vaccinated against rabies.
A blood test must be done to ensure that the above vaccination will offer sufficient protection against rabies.
An official PETS certificate can then be obtained from a government authorised vet and must be carried when travelling. A declaration of residency form (PETS3) must be signed which states that the animal has not been outside any of the PETS qualifying countries in the 6 months before entry or re-entry to the UK.
24 to 48 hours before returning to the UK the animal must be treated for ticks and tapeworm and a vet?s certificate confirming this has been done obtained.

However a certificate of health signed by a vet 24 hours before departure is recommended for entry into Belgium and Holland.

For animals travelling to Belgium a EXP26 rabies certificate is required and must have been issued at least 30 days before travel.

Coming or going to Ireland?

Pets that have first entered the British Isles under the Scheme can then travel between the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland without the need for extra documentation. However, you are advised to take your pets documents with you in case you need to show them.

For more information
For the UK Click Here
For Ireland Click Here

When you cross the channel, although like your luggage the pet stays in your vehicle, most companies charge you for this! The reason is that they will to read your pet's identifying microchip and check its passport and documentation to prove your pet has received all the necessary vaccinations and treatments (e.g. rabies injection and tick and worm treatment). Car ferry companies between Britain and Ireland don't charge for the pet.

Below are some of the European airlines who will carry pets — Many will allow small pets in the cabin

SWISS International Air Lines -(from SWISS website) can fly your pet Take your special companion along with you when you travel. With SWISS, your pet can travel on all flights to any destination of our network either right next to you in the cabin or in cabin-like conditions in the baggage compartment of the aircraft. This site is meant to inform you about the conditions that apply to either form of transport.Transport in the cabin You can take your pet in the cabin if belongs to one of the following categories: Dogs and cats Service animals such as seeing-eye and hearing dogs.

The animal must fulfil the following conditions: It must be clean, healthy, harmless and odourless It must not be pregnant It must not annoy passengers It must not exceed a weight of 8 kg (including soft-sided container) Please note that your pet must: Be booked in advance Be kept in a clean, leak-proof, escape-proof and claw-proof, soft-sided container providing enough room for the animal. The pet must be kept in the container (including head and tails) during the whole flight. Be kept under your seat during the whole flight Please note that on A330/A340 First and Business Class, due to the type of seats, it is not possible to stow the animal under the seat. Therefore, the animal will be placed for take-off and landing either: in the wardrobe in the hat rack under another seat, in Economy Class, if available.

Aer Lingus — (from Aer Lingus website) Pets can be booked on direct Ireland to USA Aer Lingus flights only. It is the passenger's responsibility to ensure that they adhere to the regulations of the country to which they are travelling. All animals will be transported in the Cargo Hold.

British Airways — (from British Airways website) How will my pet travel? We offer two different ways for your pet to travel: Accompanied Pets — allows you and your pet to travel together on the same flight. The pet checks-in with you at the passenger terminal and rejoins you on arrival in the baggage hall at the destination airport. This service is available to most British Airways destinations. Please see below for restrictions. Unaccompanied Pets — This product is available when you are unable to travel with your pet, or your pet is not a cat or dog, or your pet is travelling into the UK on the Pets Travel Scheme. Your pet must be taken to our cargo terminal and should be collected by you, or a nominated person, from the cargo terminal at the destination airport.

British Midland — BMI -(from BMI website) pets travelling within or between UK & Ireland If you want to travel on the same flight as your pet, simply notify our passenger reservations team at the time of booking. The animal must be carried in a suitable pet carrier (your vet can advise you of a suitable type). Your pet will be checked-in as excess baggage and will travel in the hold of the aircraft. Below is a list of routes that bmi has been approved to operate the pet travel scheme: Alicante to London Heathrow Amsterdam to London Heathrow Brussels to London Heathrow Hanover to London Heathrow Nice to London Heathrow Palma to London Heathrow Paris to London Heathrow.

KLM — Royal Dutch Airlines — (from KLM website) You have three choices for transporting dogs and cats. In the cabin: In certain cases, pets may travel in the cabin. Consult KLM Reservations regarding the size and weight of the kennel and other restrictions. In the hold: If the pet is not allowable in the cabin, it may travel in the baggage hold. As cargo: Pets traveling unaccompanied must be shipped through KLM Cargo. Note: Pets can only be transported as cargo to: Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Embargoes may also apply depending on the type of aircraft and season. No cats allowed to Peru.

Iberia Spain (from Iberia Website) Pets (such as dogs, cats, birds, etc.) that meet legal and documentary requisites, may be accepted as hold or cabin luggage. In any case, the excess luggage rate will be payable for their carriage. Admittance to the hold: As a general rule, live animals must be carried in the hold of aeroplanes, in suitable containers provided by the passenger.Containers must have the following characteristics: Durability and security Comfort, bearing in mind the size of the animal Ventilation A lock that is guaranteed not to open at any point A leakproof base. Admittance to the cabin: At the request of the passenger, and subject to authorisation from the booking office, certain pets may be carried in the cabin, provided that they meet the following conditions: The weight of the animal plus the container or cage in which it is to travel may be no more than 8 kg. The container may be a maximum of 45 cm in length, 35 cm in width and 25 cm in depth, provided that the sum of those 3 measurements does not exceed 105 cm. Animals must be carried in suitable containers (solid, ventilated and secure, and with a leakproof base).

Such containers may be provided by passengers or purchased from Iberia. In the event of a container failing to meet the minimum conditions for admittance, it will be rejected when boarding. Birdcages must be durable and have a secure lock. It must not be possible for food or drink to be spilled therein. Additionally, cages must always be covered. In the case of animals of reduced size or weight, several of the same species may be admitted in a single container. Under no circumstances will animals whose particular characteristics, unpleasant odour, etc., may disturb other passengers or the crew be admitted. Animals must travel with the passenger, without disturbing those travelling alongside them. Passengers carrying an animal in the cabin may not occupy seats in rows corresponding to emergency exits. Under no circumstances may animals be released from their containers inside the cabin. Caring for the animals will be the responsibility of the passenger.

Air France — (from the Air France Website) — Want to bring your pet along when you travel? To find out if your pet can travel with you in the cabin, please call Air France Reservations when booking your flight. In the cabin: limited to dogs and cats weighing less than 5 kg service animals, such as seeing-eye dogs, regardless of weight Restrictions: your pet must be carried in a vented bag that remains on the floor near your seat. To ensure the comfort and safety of the other passengers, your pet must remain in its bag during the flight. In the hold: The captain will be informed that your pet is in the hold and will take the necessary steps to ensure its comfort during the flight (lighting, heating). Dogs and cats weighing more than 5 kg must be transported in the hold.

Alitalia — (from the Alitalia Website) Travelling with your pet in safety and comfort — As of October 1, 2004, there is a new EU law which requires cats and dogs to have a passport when they travel to other member states. The passport must be issued by a vet who has been designated by the appropriate authority, and should contain information about vaccinations and the animal’s general state of health. Moreover, cats and dogs must have a legible tattoo on them, or an electronic identification system (chip, or transponder). Animals aged under three months cannot travel in Europe, since the anti-rabies vaccine is not administered until the animal is three months old. Unlike other countries, Sweden, Ireland and the United Kingdom still enforce their own laws, such as antiparasitic treatment against echinococcus and ticks. Remember that in some countries there are bans or limitations about bringing in certain animals. Pets are considered “extra” to baggage allowance and are subject to a supplementary fee that is calculated according to the weight and number of animals (also depending on the itinerary. Remember that some countries have regulations restricting the entrance of certain types of animals. On all of our transatlantic aircraft, pets are checked in as registered baggage and travel in the hold. To find out if your flight will allow your pet in the cabin*, please contact your local Alitalia reservations call center.

Lufthansa — (from the Lufthansa Website) Pets — If the respective country regulations permit the export, transit and import we will transport your pet in the cargo compartment. With advance reservation, small dogs and cats may also be accepted in the cabin. Please note that the valid regulations for the protection of animals have to be observed. Special transport conditions apply for certain dog races. Your Lufthansa sales office or your travel agent will be glad to inform you about the details.

Taking your pets by sea? — To and from England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands

Although like your luggage the pet stays in your vehicle, most companies charge you for this! The reason is that they will to read your pet's identifying microchip and check its passport and documentation to prove your pet has received all the necessary vaccinations and treatments (e.g. rabies injection and tick and worm treatment).

P&O Ferries will carry PETS on all services from Dover to Calais and Hull to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge. They charge £15 each way per pet.The P&O Ferries service from Portsmouth to Bilbao does not take part in the Pet Travel Scheme due to the length of the sailing, as this would be unsuitable for any pet to travel. Pets must remain in the vehicle during the crossing. Owners do not have access to their pets during the crossing.

SeaFrance is a pet friendly company and a dog, cat or ferret is classed as another passenger. The price of the crossing for each pet is included in the Calais-Dover leg (45 € per pet). Their pet must remain within the vehicle (they are therefore not allowed to travel if you are a foot passenger). Guide dogs travel free of charge.
Hoverspeed: Charge £18 each way. Pets must remain in the vehicle during the crossing. Owners do not have access to their pets during the crossing. Pets must be secured in a carrier during crossing.

Brittany Ferries They charge from just £50 return for a cat or dog can travel on any of their routes to France, in the comfort of the owner car. If travelling to Spain the cost is from £60 return and there are dedicated kennels available on board.

Norfolk Line Charge £20 per pet The animals must stay in the vehicle at all times throughout the crossing.

Eurotunnel Charge £30 from France to England for cats, dogs and ferrets.Registered guide dogs travel free of charge. Pet rabbits and rodents (guinea pigs, mice) travel without a passport and are free of charge!

Stena Line Charge £10 each between Harwich — Hook of Holland.

DFDS Seaways Charge £30 return for dogs between Newcastle and Amsterdam. All pets must travel on the car deck.

Taking your pets by sea? — To and from England/Wales and Ireland

You do not need a pet passport to travel between these countries, however you will need one if your pet is travelling between Ireland and France.

Stena Line Do not charge — The pet must remain in the car unless a kennel is available.

Irish Ferries Do not charge — The pet must remain in the car unless a kennel is available.

Irish Ferries — Ireland to France — Charge €35 per animal per journey for travel. This fee includes the use of a kennel on board

Pet insurance can be found here

Accepting Payments in Euros can prove Expensive

Like many owners of self catering holiday rental homes in Europe, my property in the South of France will attract visitors from inside and outside the euro zone.

I learnt at any stage after the Euro was introduced that the banks would not suffer financially as a result of losing business on “exchanging currency”.

From experience you can now go from one country to another in the euro zone withdrawing “cash” from an ATM or using your credit/debit card without penalty. This rule does not seem to apply with the bank I bank with in France regarding cheques.

I have had to add in my rental terms a statement advising the renter that he/she will have to reimburse me for any bank charges as a result of a non French euro cheque. This means my Belgian and Dutch visitors have to be prepared to pay the bank commission.

In late November 2005,I was sent a payment for €29.58 drawn on a Spanish bank in euros. I posted off the cheque on the fits of December. On the 22nd the bank credited my account with €29.58. On the 23rd December they charged €13.80 administration charge for transacting it! That is nearly 50% of its value!

To be fair that might be their minimum standard charge and if that is the case I am pleased the cheque was not for €10.00 as I would have been paying them and not getting a cent.

The above situation may not apply to all French banks – I hope not, however if you are the owner of a self catering vacation home do include in your terms and conditions that you make a charge for changing the renters cheque from one currency or another or even the same currency if it happens to be in euros

If the renter can arrange to have the cheque drawn on the currency of the property owner (as I have done with US $ transferred into £ sterling for example (at the renters cost) this might solve this problem although I would not want to guarantee this.
I do not know if other banks in the Euro zone operate in the same way, but it would be interesting to find out.

Philip Suter is a Director of JML Property Services, a UK based company offering Insurance Products on line , property rentals in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, England and a self catering vacation home advertising service for the South of France — and internationally He is also involved with management training companiesoperating in the UK and Internationally.